Côte-Rôtie – A Vinous Pilgrimage



Yes, there are some Roman remains in the city of Vienne that probably are worth some extra attention. But then again; Vienne is next to the Rhône river and just a few kilometers south you will find Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu. Sorry Romans, but the priorities is set on my pilgrimage visit to the world’s most amazing Syrah. And Viognier.

Hermitage might be the place that really is allowed to be defined as a pilgrimage trip. The eremite and the chapel you know. But vinously speaking; I’m not sure I can come up with anything that beats a Côte-Rôtie. Is it the combination of elegance, floral aromas and meat that attracts me? The vigour the wines possesses, combined with the light as a feather feeling? The moderate alcohol content perhaps? Do I have to know? Why not just drink the stuff and feel religious for a while?

Côte-Rôtie is either iron rich soil, Brune, or granite and schist, Blonde. Standing there, in mid-March, the differences in soil becomes more evident. Naked vineyards showing it all. However, if you’re more of the romantic kind of wine person you probably fancy the old story of a local nobleman and his two daughters more. One blonde, one brown haired. Contrasting temperament. Just like the wines. Just like the soil.

Terraces, erosion, the mistral, fog and steep vineyards facing mostly south. During a day in Ampuis and the surroundings, I’m having my pilgrimage trip, experiencing it all. Finally.

Here’s to the importance of terroir and all it comprises; a photographic walk-through Côte-Rôtie.


Côte-Rôtie BruneCôte-Rôtie Brune. Home of such unbeatable greatness as Guigal’s La Landonne

Syrah vineOld, windswept Syrah vines

Côte-Rôtie BruneTerraces. Erosion.

Côte-RôtieErosion. What goes down must be carried up in the vineyards again. Every year.

Côte-Rôtie BruneEntrance to Brune-land

Côte-Rôtie BlondeGranite + schist = Côte-Rôtie Blonde

Côte-Rôtie BlondeTerraces in Blonde, making life a bit easier for the workers.

Cote Rotie BruneBrune

Côte-Rôtie BruneSoil-talk

Côte-RôtieCôte-Rôtie, seen from the top of the world

©Niklas Jörgensen